The future of the All Stars concept was guaranteed before a ball was kicked in anger at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The Indigenous and World All Stars still pushed a pretty convincing case for the game to be kept for many more years to come in a tense clash in front of 37,339 fans.
The World All Stars ran out 12-8 winners to square up the series at 3-3 since the first game was played in 2010 and snapping a two-game run by the Indigenous outfit.
But the match was never going to be about the result – it was the concept.
The NRL was reportedly weighing up the game’s future after last year’s match on the Gold Coast suffered a $500,000 loss.
Then there were concerns about player welfare and even interest.
Five Indigenous players made themselves unavailable for the match while nine of the original 20-strong World All Stars squad pulled out.
But ARL Commission chairman John Grant confirmed the concept had a future ahead of the kick-off.
Grant told ABC Radio that the game had been locked in, but the format and timing may be up for discussion in upcoming seasons.
It still remains to be seen where the All Stars match will be held with the NRL’s two-year Queensland government contract to host the clash expiring this season.
It wasn’t just the concept that was being put to the test on Saturday night.
The match was also previewing the new NRL video referee bunker system.
And it raised eyebrows in the 32nd minute when Warriors juggernaut Konrad Hurrell was awarded the opening try despite the ball appearing to fall short of the line.
Penrith’s Leilani Latu locked up the scores at 4-4 at halftime when he fed off a Jamie Soward cutout pass.
Fijian powerhouse Semi Radradra steamrolled over off a Jarrod Croker flick pass in the 42nd to give the World All Stars a 10-4 lead before Dane Gagai gave the Indigenous side a sniff when he crashed over in the 63rd.
There were fears that there may be a penalty fest with referees to crack down on the play-the-ball and with shot clocks for scrums and line drop outs.
But it appeared to be business as usual.